Ganassi sets Daytona pace

The car of Chip Ganassi Racing's 'all-stars' team set the pace on the second day of official testing for the Daytona 24 Hours.

Ganassi sets Daytona pace

Ganassi's NASCAR racer Casey Mears and IRL IndyCar Series team-mates Scott Dixon and Darren Manning set a best time of 1m47.654s in their Lexus-Riley during the seven-hour test, 0.054s quicker than the SunTrust Racing Pontiac-Riley of Wayne Taylor, Max Angelelli and Emmanuel Collard.

Day one pacesetters Andy Wallace, Jan Lammers and Tony Stewart dropped to ninth in their Howard-Boss entry, while Marino and Dario Franchitti, Dan Wheldon and Milka Duno improved to fifth in the team's second car.

Johannes van Overbeek topped the GT class times in Flying Lizard Motorsports' Porsche GT3.

The Ganassi team held a press conference to announce their 2005 Grand-Am line-up during the test. With last year's title winning partnership having been split up by Max Papis' move to Krohn Racing/TRG, Luis Diaz will be promoted to the lead car alongside Papis' former partner Scott Pruett. Diaz co-drove with Jimmy Morales in the second Ganassi entry in 2004.

"I am thrilled and so motivated heading into this season and this race," said Diaz. "I learned so much in my first season and I really feel that I can improve on that even more this year, especially working and sharing driving duties with Scott Pruett."

Ex-Toyota Formula 1 test driver Ryan Briscoe, who is likely to join Ganassi's IndyCar squad this season, will share the Pruett/Diaz car at Daytona. The combination was third fastest in today's test.

Ganassi's second season-long entry will be shared by ex-F1 and Champ Car star Stefan Johansson and double Grand-Am GT class champion Cort Wagner. NASCAR racer Jamie McMurray will join them for the 24 Hour race.

Film legend and Champ Car team owner Paul Newman was in the spotlight on day two of testing after his Ford-Crawford spun and then briefly caught fire - apparently due to mechanical failure. Newman was taken to the medical centre for precautionary checks but was released without injury.

"I don't know what happened," he said. "It just caught on fire somehow."

Last year's winning car, the Bell Motorsports entry, has yet to threaten the pacesetters and was only 12th fastest on day two. Christian Fittipaldi, who will share the Pontiac-Doran with Terry Borcheller, Forest Barber, Paul Tracy and Ralf Kelleners, remains confident of their race chances.

"I think we're not going to be unbelievably strong in qualifying," he said. "But I think we're going to be very, very strong in the race.

"We unfortunately don't have the same speed as some of the Rileys and one or two of the Crawfords. We're a little bit behind them, but I think our strengths are going to show up in the race."

shares
comments
Daytona test begins

Previous article

Daytona test begins

Next article

McNish in Le Mans return

McNish in Le Mans return
Load comments
The ex-IndyCar racer in "uncharted territory" of British GT team ownership Plus

The ex-IndyCar racer in "uncharted territory" of British GT team ownership

This weekend’s British GT finale will be a tense title showdown for some but, for those not in the championship fight, it’s a chance to end a challenging year on a high. In the latter camp is Paddock Motorsport's team owner Martin Plowman, whose 2021 season has been a rollercoaster ride of non-stop learning

National
Oct 15, 2021
The unpopular BMW stalwart built for the big occasion Plus

The unpopular BMW stalwart built for the big occasion

It has won most of the big prizes in endurance racing across its six years in service, but the BMW M6 GT3's key weaknesses meant only a devoted few teams persisted with running it. As it prepares to bow out at season's end, the teams and drivers involved in its story share the secrets of an unpopular winner

GT
Oct 7, 2021
The unwanted GT car that changed sportscar racing forever Plus

The unwanted GT car that changed sportscar racing forever

Had FIA GT boss Stephane Ratel had his way, the Maserati MC12 would never have been allowed to set foot in his series. It duly proved the class of the field that most had expected, but the Balance of Performance that its superiority spawned would keep GT1 battles tight and bring long-term benefits that sportscar racing enjoys today

GT
Sep 21, 2021
Why Britain's greatest sportscar was eclipsed on the world stage Plus

Why Britain's greatest sportscar was eclipsed on the world stage

The E-Type may be the most famous of all road-going Jaguars, but that didn't always translate into success on the track. After winning on its competition debut in 1961, motorsport success seemed an inevitability, but things didn’t turn out to be quite that straightforward

GT
Aug 6, 2021
Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60 Plus

Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60

It’s 60 years since the Jaguar E-type arrived and caused a sensation. As our resident racer Ben Anderson discovered when he got behind the wheel of two special racing versions at Brands Hatch, the thrill of driving them hasn't diminished over time

GT
Jul 31, 2021
The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat Plus

The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat

It's a significant achievement to win one 24-hour race in a year, let alone two, and with different manufacturers, but that's exactly what ROWE Racing did in 2020 at the Nurburgring and Spa. This weekend's German classic offers the DTM newcomer a chance of another unique double to add to its growing collection of accolades

GT
Jun 3, 2021
The new threat facing motorsport's greatest success story Plus

The new threat facing motorsport's greatest success story

The manufacturers were unconvinced – and even hostile – when Stephane Ratel launched GT3 in 2006. Now, 15 years on from its debut, they’ve sold more than 2000 cars and counting, but its continued expansion puts the increasingly globalised category at risk of losing its roots

GT
May 25, 2021
The Lamborghini teams plotting to stop a RAM raid on British GT Plus

The Lamborghini teams plotting to stop a RAM raid on British GT

With the Silver pairings that dominated 2020 now banned, Mercedes pair Yelmer Buurman and Ian Loggie could be in the box seat after winning last year's Pro-Am crown. But a swarm of Lamborghinis, with the defending outright champion among them, will ensure they face tough opposition

GT
May 21, 2021